Your Career at 50: Reasons Why You Should Keep Learning

By on March 3, 2019
Keep Learning

You may have been in your field for years and feel settled in your position, but just because you’re established in your career and you haven’t even considered a career change, doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Some may think that, with retirement looming in the next decade or so, it isn’t necessary to add to your skill set or bulk up your resume, but this is far from the case. There might be obstacles in your way. You may feel overwhelmed by the idea of enrolling in school again, the pressure to perform (the key to mastering test anxiety is preparation), or you may feel settled in your role.

The market is becoming more competitive, which means you need to stay in the game and come out looking strong. At any age or point in career growth, adding new skills to your repertoire will open up doors. Here are some reasons to keep on learning and how to go about it.

Why Learning Helps Your Career

Better Marketability

It’s never too late to make a career change. You could make a lateral move into a different field based on what you’ve been doing or retrain for an entirely new type of job. There’s a middle road, however, in using accelerated or targeted training such as certificate programs or certifications (more on those later) to supplement your experience with new skills that will qualify you for similar positions in new arenas.

Promotion

Unless you’re already in the C-suite, a higher-up position is probably available—if not at your current company, then somewhere else. Adding some education to your resume is a great way to present yourself as more qualified for such a promotion, especially if you plan ahead and use training to fill in the gaps of your current skill set.

Salary Increase

Maybe you want to stay at your current job, but there aren’t promotions available. That doesn’t mean you can’t go after a pay bump. Job responsibilities can change over time, and adding new education to your resume helps you make a good case for expanding or changing the scope of your position and negotiating for a salary boost at the same time.

Starting a Retirement Business

Many people retire from their long-term careers but want to keep working. Starting a business, perhaps based on a passion or hobby, is a great plan for semi-retirement. To make the venture more successful, get formal training in the service or product you’ll be selling. Introductory classes on marketing and running a business, such as those available from various colleges and universities (or even the training Hubspot provides) will set you up for success in your new venture.

Moving Abroad

Some people look into retiring abroad to take advantage of more affordable living costs, a desirable climate, or domestic benefits that the US doesn’t provide. Learning a second language can open up opportunities for you to move abroad and get settled in a new country before you’re ready to retire. If your company has such opportunities, look at the skills those positions require and spend some time training up in those areas to present yourself as a good candidate for the job.

How to Get More Education Quickly

Certifications

Certifications add proof to your resume that you have attended a series of seminars or classes and passed a test to prove your aptitude with your newly attained skill set. It’s probably been many years since you took a test, so be sure to treat these certification tests like any exam you took in college, master your test-taking anxiety (again, preparation is key), and take the test seriously.

Some helpful certifications include ones in project management, sales, programming languages, and writing, but those just scratch the surface of what’s available. If you can’t find any right way, contact professional organizations in your field to ask for guidance.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are offered by colleges and universities both locally and online, unlike certifications that are offered by professional bodies in many different fields. You’ll spend a bit more time and money on a certificate program, but nowhere near what you’d need to give to another degree.

Berkeley Extension is a highly regarded institution offering a number of different online programs, but increasingly, schools around the country from elite universities to community colleges are offering certificate programs for adult professionals who want to expand their knowledge and abilities. This guide to online schools will help you find online certificate programs in a vast number of fields.

Professional Conferences/Workshops

Many industry organizations hold regular workshops or conferences where you can augment your existing skills through hands-on guidance and practice. A few examples include the B2B Marketing Forum, The Startup Conference, Blogcademy, the IA Summit, and the MIT Sustainability Summit. This is just a smattering; more than likely, your industry has at least a conference or two.

To maximize value, look for events that offer practice workshops as well as reputable speakers. This kind of learning has the added benefit of offering networking opportunities if you are looking to make a move.

Any learning you do for professional development has the advantage of helping you stay on top of trends in your industry so you can remain competitive with your younger colleagues. It can also set you up for a late-career move or a semi-retirement plan. New education helps keep your brain nimble so you don’t get stuck in a rut after many years spent doing the same kind of work; there’s really no downside to continuing to learn.

By Hilary Thompson

 

 

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Your Career at 50: Reasons Why You Should Keep Learning